Cheap Classic Hauler: 1962 Ford Ranchero

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As a person whose daily driver is descended from this 1962 Ford Ranchero, I do have quite a soft spot for them. This one is a nicely presented vehicle that will need a little bit of work, but none of this would be beyond a relatively competent individual in their home workshop. Barn Finder Pat L referred the Ranchero to us, so thank you for that Pat. The Ranchero is located on North Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and is listed for sale here on craigslist. The owner says that the first person to hand him $3,500 walks away with the car.

The Rangoon Red paint on the Ranchero looks to be really good, while the 14″ chrome rims and moon hubcaps set it off very nicely. There are no photos of the driver’s side of the vehicle, so hopefully, it looks as good as the passenger side. The exterior trim and chrome also look good, although some of it is in need of a polish to return it to its best. I don’t see any obvious signs of rust, although I wouldn’t mind getting a look at the bed and underside of the vehicle to confirm that it is solid.

The interior of the Ranchero also presents quite well but isn’t completely original. The door trims look right and also appear to be in good condition. The owner mentions a new dash pad, but it either hasn’t been fitted or was fitted after these photos were taken, because the dash pad in the photos is very badly cracked. The seat upholstery isn’t original, and whether it would remain as is or would be changed would be a matter of personal choice. There are a couple of minor items and handles missing off the vehicle, but sourcing replacements should be pretty easy.

When it comes to the mechanical aspects of the Ranchero, we get a mixture of both good and bad news. Firstly, the bad news. The 170ci straight-six engine in the Ranchero currently has a blown head gasket, so the next owner is going to have to collect the car on a trailer. This isn’t an uncommon malady with these engines, and if the next owner has some mechanical abilities, it should be an easy fix. The good news is that the rest of the Ranchero looks like it is mechanically okay. The 2-speed Ford-O-Matic transmission might not be the ultimate choice in a low powered vehicle like this, but it might be possible to swap in a C4 transmission to improve performance. Otherwise, the Ranchero has recently been treated to a new fuel tank and lines, a new fuel pump, electronic ignition, and air shocks. That’s not a bad starting point for the next owner.

I quite like this Ranchero, and I think that it does show a lot of promise. Provided the engine issue is only a head gasket and nothing more sinister, then it should be easy to get the car back onto the road and running fine. The next owner could choose whether to leave the vehicle essentially as it is or to make any changes that would suit their own personal tastes. Either option would be fine by me.

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  1. Frank Sumatra

    Interesting take on the head gasket. The seller should have it taken care of if he/she really wants to sell it.

    Like 5
    • Tom Tokar

      I had a 64 Comet with the 200..2 blown head gaskets..and both times magaflux showed head cracks..buyer beware!

      Like 1
  2. KevinLee

    Easy fix on the head gasket. This is probably the buy of the month.

    Like 6
    • Frank Sumatra

      Then why doesn’t the seller take care of it?

      Like 0
  3. local_sheriff

    Frank;seller claims in the ad he’s got a bad back. An I-6 iron head is indeed one heavy lump; regardless of the 170 being a tiny engine.
    Agree with KevinLee; if this Ranchero is as healthy as it looks it’d be the pick of the month, and even though I’d prefer a stick it’s a Ford that’s way cooler to own than a Mustang

    Like 4
    • Frank Sumatra

      I also have a bad back and a mechanic with a good back. He had the Corvette I’m getting ready to sell last week to take care of some issues prior to me putting the car on the market. I am working under the assumption a potential buyer might want to drive the car prior to purchasing it. I guess I’m just funny that way.

      Like 1
      • local_sheriff

        I fully agree with all your above points Frank, bad back or not financially it’s not the smartest way to advertize a vehicle with such an easy-fix issue. As Del claims he’ll probably be offered half of his asking for this cute little UTE solely due to that $15 gasket… that means someone might make a great deal here!

        There are still folks out there who couldn’t care less about that 170 regardless of condition and ditch it for a V8 any day. Just to make myself clear I’m not one of those…

        Like 3
      • Frank Sumatra

        @local- Good discussion. This is what makes BF a fun place to visit. Have a great 4th of July weekend. Cheers

        Like 2
  4. Del

    He will be offered half what he wants.

    Should have fixed gasket firstl

    Like 3

    I question it having 14″ wheels with the 6 cylinder engine the Falcon had 13″ 4 lug wheels. Head gasket is easily replaced even with a bad back. Ask me how I know.
    I would recommend a thourogh inspection for rust.

    Like 3
  6. TimM

    Great little car/truck there’s not many left!!

    Like 0
  7. PatrickM


    Like 0

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